|Publication number||US7815067 B2|
|Application number||US 11/395,596|
|Publication date||Oct 19, 2010|
|Filing date||Mar 31, 2006|
|Priority date||Mar 31, 2006|
|Also published as||CA2645498A1, CA2645498C, CN101495383A, CN101495383B, EP2001761A2, EP2001761A4, EP2001761B1, EP2308771A1, EP2308771B1, US8479941, US20070241107, US20110011862, WO2007117956A2, WO2007117956A3|
|Publication number||11395596, 395596, US 7815067 B2, US 7815067B2, US-B2-7815067, US7815067 B2, US7815067B2|
|Inventors||Tamotsu Matsumoto, Makiko Kida, Eugene R. Kaneko|
|Original Assignee||Helen Of Troy Limited|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (16), Referenced by (9), Classifications (15), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Containers come in all shapes and sizes and store all different types of products. Certain containers, such as food containers, utilize a sealable cover or lid which forms a seal with the container to maintain quality and freshness of the food items stored in the container. There are several different types of covers or lids for these containers. Some containers use a snap-fit or friction-fit lid to form a seal with the container. These lids, however, are difficult to stretch and secure to the containers and are also difficult to remove because of the tight friction fit.
Other lids or covers include one or more latches which engage the container to hold the lid on the container. If the latches break or stop working properly, however, a new cover and possibly a new container must be purchased, which costs consumers additional time and money.
Accordingly, there is a need for improved containers having sealable lids which are easy to secure to and remove from a container and also provide a sufficient seal between the lid and the container to maintain a high level of freshness of the snacks and other items stored in the container.
The present invention is directed to containers and more specifically, to containers having sealable covers.
One embodiment of the present invention provides a food storage container including a housing having an open top wall structure defining a receptacle for receiving food material to be stored. A cover is disposable on the housing in a closed position relative to the receptacle. The storage container includes a button removable carried by the cover in a sealed carried by the cover and shiftable between a compressed condition for sealingly engaging the wall structure when the cover is disposed in the closed position and an uncompressed condition for disengaging from the wall structure. The food storage container also includes a toggle mechanism coupled to the button and to the seal for effecting movement of the seal to its compressed and uncompressed condition respectively in response to alternate actuations of the button.
In an embodiment, the toggle mechanism includes a latch having two sides, where the sides respectively define heart-shaped cam surfaces, and where each of the cam surfaces include a first cam surface portion and a second cam surface portion.
In an embodiment, the heart-shaped cam surfaces are symmetrical.
In an embodiment, the toggle mechanism includes a pin pivotably connected to the button and engageable with the latch. The first cam surface portion is adapted to guide the pin to a locked position in response to a first actuation of the button, and the second cam surface portion is adapted to guide the pin to an unlocked position in response to a second actuation of the button.
In an embodiment, the toggle mechanism includes a latch, an open-top housing and a slider movably connected to the housing. The latch defines a first cam surface and a second cam surface. The toggle mechanism is operable to movably engage the latch with the housing causing the first cam surface to guide the slider to a locked position upon a first actuation of the button, and causing the second cam surface to guide the slider to an unlocked position upon a second actuation of the button.
In an embodiment, the cover includes an upper member, a bottom member and a cam plate connected to the bottom member, where the cam plate is movably connected to the upper member.
In an embodiment, the button is movable between an up position and a down position.
In an embodiment, the toggle mechanism includes a bias structure for biasing the button to the up position.
In an embodiment, the bias structure includes a pair of arms positioned adjacent to the button, where the arms are operable to pivot and move the button to the up position.
In an embodiment, the bias structure includes a spring operable to bias the button to the up position.
In an embodiment, at least one of the housing and the cover are substantially transparent.
Another embodiment provides a food storage device including a container having an open-top wall structure defining a receptacle for receiving a material to be stored. The food storage device includes a cover disposable on the wall structure, where the cover includes a top member defining a cup having a bottom surface, and where the bottom surface defines a plurality of slots. The food storage device also includes a bottom member positioned adjacent to the top member, and a cam plate connected to the bottom member, where the cam plate includes at least two posts and a latch. The posts are extendable through the slots of the receptacle. The latch includes two sides, where the sides respectively define heart-shaped cam surfaces. The food storage device also includes a seal positioned between the upper member and the bottom member of the cover, and a button including a bottom surface. The button is slidably connected to the cover. The food storage device further includes a pair of pivot arms positioned adjacent to the bottom surface of the button, where each of the pivot arms are pivotably connected to one of the posts of the cam plate. The pivot arms are connected to the posts after the posts are inserted through the slots of the bottom surface of the receptacle to connect the cam plate and the bottom member to the upper member. A pin is connected to the bottom surface of the button. The pin includes two opposing spaced apart arms. The arms are respectively engageable with the heart-shaped cam surfaces of the latch. When the button is actuated a first time, the pivot arms move downwardly and the cam surfaces guide the arms of the pin to a locked position causing the seal to expand outwardly and engage the wall structure. When the button is actuated a second time, the cam surfaces guide the arms to an un-locked position, where the seal dis-engages the container and the pivot arms move upwardly against the bottom surface of the button to correspondingly move the button upwardly to a popped-up position.
In an embodiment, the latch defines a recess, where the pin is engaged with the recess in the locked position.
In an embodiment, the food storage device includes a spring positioned adjacent to the top member. The spring biases the button to the popped-up position.
In an embodiment, the spring is a coil spring.
In an embodiment, at least one of the container and the cover are substantially transparent.
It is therefore an advantage of the present invention to provide a storage container having a housing and a cover, which is easily connected to and removed from the housing.
Another advantage of the present invention is to provide a storage container which maximizes the freshness and quality of the materials stored in the container.
It is a further advantage of the present invention to provide a storage container including a housing and a cover where the cover is connected and sealed to the housing using one hand.
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed disclosure, taken in conjunction with the accompanying sheets of drawings, wherein like numerals refer to like parts, elements, components, steps and processes.
The present invention is directed generally to a container having a sealable cover or lid and more specifically, to a storage container for storing food or other items, where the container has a sealable lid that is sealed to the container using a push-push operation.
Referring now to
The storage container 100 therefore allows a user to easily and quickly seal a container and alternatively to release the seal and remove contents from the storage container 100. The illustrated embodiment of the storage container shows the container 101 and lid 102 having a particular size and shape. It should be appreciated however, that the container 101 and lid 102 may have any suitable sizes and/or shapes to accommodate different storage items.
Referring now to
In the illustrated embodiment, the cover or lid 102 includes a top lid assembly 116 connected to a bottom lid assembly 118. The seal member, gasket or seal 108 is positioned between the top and bottom lid assemblies 116, 118 and is shiftable between a compressed condition for engaging the wall structure when the lid 102 is in a closed position, and an uncompressed position for disengaging the lid 102 from the wall structure 110. The top and bottom lid assemblies 116, 118 therefore act as a toggle mechanism coupled to the button 106 and the seal to move the seal 108 between the compressed and uncompressed conditions based on alternate actuations of the button 106. The engagement of the seal 108 with the container 101 seals the container and lid together.
Cam plate or latch plate 122 is a generally circular plate. The latch plate 122 is secured to the receptacle 126 by turning, twisting or screwing the latch plate into the receptacle. In the illustrated embodiment, the latch plate 122 is turned or twisted in a clockwise direction to secure it to the bottom member 120. The latch plate 122 is turned or twisted within the receptacle 126 until resilient U-shaped tab 138 engages detent 134 on the bottom surface 127 of the receptacle 126. The U-shaped tab 138 is dis-engaged from the detent 134 by forcibly rotating or twisting the latch 122 plate in a counter clockwise direction. The engagement of the tab 138 with the detent 134 helps to secure the latch plate 122 to the bottom member 120 and prevent the latch plate 122 from twisting or turning out of position after assembly and during use.
The latch plate 122 includes a plurality of pivot members 140 which are generally upright, vertical members. The pivot members 140 are positioned in pairs and are connected to the latch plate 122. In one embodiment, the pivot members 140 are integrally formed with the latch plate 122. In another embodiment, the pivot members 140 are separate parts which are connected to the latch plate 122. A designated or predetermined distance separates each pair of the pivot members 140. As illustrated in
The latch plate 122 also includes a latch 146. The latch 146 is a generally rectangular member which extends vertically above the bottom surface 127 of the latch plate. The latch 146 includes a pair of opposing sides 148 and defines a central opening 150 therebetween. The sides 148 may be the same or different sizes or shapes. In the illustrated embodiment, the opposing sides 148 of the latch 146 define non-symmetrical heart-shaped cam surfaces or cam surface portions 149 which guide pin 152. In another embodiment, the cam surface portions 149 are symmetrical. It should be appreciated that the cam surfaces 149 may be of any suitable size, shape or configuration. The latch plate 122 further defines a plurality of tab openings 154 which receive tabs 174 extending downwardly from button 106.
Referring now to
Referring now to
The cap, actuator or button 106 is connected to the top lid assembly 116. The button 106 is generally circular in shape and has a plurality of downwardly extending tabs 174. The button 106 is sized to correspond to the size of the receptacle 114 and move or slide downwardly into cup 166 in the top lid assembly 116. The tabs 174 extend downwardly and are received by corresponding openings 167 defined in the bottom surface of the cup 166. One or more of the downwardly extending tabs 174 include a flange 176 which fits through the openings 167 defined by the bottom surface of the cup 166. The flanges 176 extend outwardly from the tabs 174 to inhibit the tabs and thereby inhibit the button 106 from moving upwardly through the openings and being removed from the top member 158. The downwardly extending tabs 174 are sized to allow the button 106 to move upwardly and downwardly between an engaged and disengaged or popped-up position as illustrated in
In another embodiment, an arm 144 such as arm 144 b includes a first arm member 191 and a second arm member 193, which is connected to the first arm member as described above. Opposing sides 197 a and 197 b are secured together by support member 195. Also, the sides 197 a or 197 b cooperate to secure and support a roller 205. The roller 205 rotates about an axis transverse to the sides 197 a and 197 b. Pins 203 are integrally formed with the roller 205 to help secure the roller in openings defined by sides 197 a and 197 b. Posts 201 extend generally outwardly from sides 197 a and 197 b to rotatably connect arm 149 to pivot members 140. It should be appreciated that pins 201 and 203 may be separate parts which are connected to sides 197 a and 197 b, and roller 205, respectively. In this embodiment, the roller 205 helps to minimize friction generated by the arm when the arm pivots upwardly and downwardly with respect to the underlying support surface.
The U-shaped pin member or pin 152 described above is inserted through an opening 178 defined in the top surface of the button 106. The U-shaped pin 152 includes a lateral member 180 and two side members 182 extending downwardly therefrom. Each end of the side members 182 include opposing prongs 184 which extend toward each other and are generally in the same plane. The U-shaped pin 152 is inserted through the opening 178 defined by the button and snaps into a channel (not shown) defined by the bottom surface of the button 106. The channel is sized to enable the lateral member 180 of the U-shaped pin 152 to engage the channel in a snap-fit or friction fit connection. The engagement of the lateral member 180 and the channel secure the U-shaped pin 152 to the bottom surface of the button 106 and allows the pin to at least partially move or pivot with respect to the button.
A cap or cover 186 is snapped into the opening 178 defined by the button to close the opening. In one embodiment, the cover 186 includes a decorative design such as a company logo. It should be appreciated that the cover may include any suitable design, words, pictures or images.
The coil spring 170 is positioned below the top member 158, and more specifically below, the cup 166 to help to bias actuator or button 106 upwardly away from the lid 102. Alternatively, the coil spring 170 may be positioned in the receptacle 114 inside of the inner wall 168. It should be appreciated that the coil spring 170 may be any suitable spring which has any suitable size or shape.
The following paragraphs describe the push-push operation of the lid and the engagement of the lid 102 with the container 101. Initially, the lid 102 is removed from the container 101 and an item, such as a food item, is placed inside the container. As described above, the lid 102 is seated in the open-top wall structure 110 of the container 101. A user actuates the actuator or presses down on the button 106 to cause a seal to be formed between the lid 102 and the container 101.
While the button 106 is pressed downwardly within the receptacle 114, lateral portions 190 of the arms 144, which are positioned adjacent to and engage the bottom surface of the button 106, are also pushed downwardly. Each of the arms 144 include the lateral portions or members 190 and an opposing angled surface 192 which contacts the bottom surface of the cup 166. As the arms 144 are pushed downwardly, the point or tip 194 of the angled surface 192 engages the bottom surface of the cup 166 thereby pushing the cup or top member 158 downwardly. At the same time, the angled surface 192 of the arms 144 act as a lever causing the arms to pull the pivot members 140 upwardly within the cup 166. This correspondingly causes the bottom member 120 to move upwardly toward the top member 158. The movement of the bottom member 120 towards the top member 158 compresses the seal 108 between the top and bottom members. As the seal 108 is compressed or moved to a compressed position, it expands outwardly and engages or pushes against the wall structure 110 of the container 101. The pressure of the outwardly extending seal 108 with the wall structure 110 enables the container to hold or secure the lid 102 to the container 101. As stated above, the U-shaped pin 152 is positioned in the recess 188 and is therefore in the locked position. The engagement of the seal 108 with the container 101 also forms a tight seal between the lid 102 and the container 101 to maximize freshness and preserve the item or items stored in the container.
To release and remove the lid 102 from the container 101, a user activates the actuator or presses the button 106. Pressing the button 106 downwardly correspondingly moves the prongs 184 of the U-shaped pin 152 downwardly along cam surfaces 149 of the latch 146. As shown in
As the top member 158 moves upwardly, the pivot members 140 are moving downwardly through slots or openings 167 defined in the bottom surface of the receptacle or cup 166. The angled surfaces 192 of each of the arms 144 contact the bottom surface 162 of the cup 166 as the arms 144 are pulled or moved downwardly with the pivot members 140. Engagement of the angled surfaces 192 of the arms 144 with the bottom surface 162 of the cup 166 causes the arms to pivot upwardly. The upward movement of the arms 144, which are positioned adjacent to and engage the bottom surface of the button 106, correspondingly move the button 106 upwardly until the seal 108 returns to its original shape. The button 106 is now in the popped-up position with respect to the lid 102 as shown in
Referring now to
Referring now to
In the illustrated embodiment, the latch 200 includes a housing 206 connected to the cam plate 122. The housing 206 includes a wall structure 207 having one or more walls. The wall structure 207 defines a receptacle having an upper or top opening. The upper opening of the wall structure is sized to receive the guide 202. A slider 208 is movably connected to the housing. The slider 208 slides within a groove defined by the housing 206. In the illustrated embodiment, the slider 208 generally moves or slides laterally with respect to the housing. It should be appreciated that the slider may slide in any suitable direction or directions. In this embodiment, the slider includes flange members 210 which secure or hold the slider 208 on the housing 206. The slider 208 also includes a guide post 212 which extends into the receptacle defined by the housing 206. The guide post 212 extends a designated distance into the receptacle defined by the housing to engage the cam surfaces 204 a and 204 b.
In one example, the button 106 is initially in the up position as shown in
Upon a second actuation of the button (i.e., the button is moved downward), the guide post 210 moves upwardly out of recess 214 and moves along cam surface 204 d as shown in
In the embodiments described above, the components of the container are preferably made of a polymer or plastic which can be washed and stored. It should be appreciated however that the lid and the other components of the container may be made of any suitable material or materials. It should also be appreciated that the components of the container may be connected or manufactured in any suitable order other than that described above.
While the present invention is described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it should be appreciated that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, and is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the claims. Modifications and variations in the present invention may be made without departing from the novel aspects of the invention as defined in the claims, and this application is limited only by the scope of the claims.
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|U.S. Classification||220/234, 292/DIG.37, 215/359, 220/803, 220/377, 292/341.17, 220/212|
|International Classification||B65D53/00, B65D39/12|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10T292/702, Y10S292/37, B65D39/12, B65D45/327|
|European Classification||B65D39/12, B65D45/32A3|
|Jul 5, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: HELEN OF TROY LIMITED, BARBADOS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MATSUMOTO, TAMOTSU;KIDA, MAKIKO;KANERKO, EUGENE R.;REEL/FRAME:018165/0432;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060328 TO 20060330
Owner name: HELEN OF TROY LIMITED, BARBADOS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MATSUMOTO, TAMOTSU;KIDA, MAKIKO;KANERKO, EUGENE R.;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060328 TO 20060330;REEL/FRAME:018165/0432
|Apr 21, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4